Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New
Stanley Odd MC Solareye is known for a refreshing lack of pretension in a hip-hop world still associated with big egos and outlandish boasting. He exudes a laid-back confidence based on a firm moral code; empathy for others flows from A Thing Brand New, the Edinburgh collective's third album. The honesty of closing track I Voted Yes has already proved an internet hit in the raw weeks following September 18. Hook candidly explains his reasons for backing independence but never blames those who chose not to follow the same path.
His hackles are raised on the stand-out A Walking Dead, which rails against the post-Thatcherite mess of the 21st century and asks why more are not speaking out. "Who says she's been laid to rest/In austerity and flawed excess / The lady lives on," he intones over a hook-heavy backing. Musically tight and lyrically surprising, A Thing Brand New is a confident step forward despite its MC's aversion to swagger. [Chris McCall]